Bone and Jewel Creatures has an interesting setting, which I’d love to explore more – it barely scratches the surface of the potential magic, and the political situation seems fairly sketched in – and an interesting character. How often do you get a 96 year old protagonist with arthritis? Although being a stubborn old lady isn’t unique, the fact that the effects on her work are touched on and the concern other characters have for her is quite cool.
Because it’s a novella, there’s a lot of stuff that would be fun to explore and go further into, and there’s a lot of suggestion and doing your own legwork, but it has a satisfying story arc of its own, and works well as a standalone piece. I didn’t actually know of, or feel the lack of, anything else set in the same universe. You have all the details you need.
The writing is good too, with some lovely moments of description – the wariness of the child, the glitter of the titular bone and jewel creatures. Overall, I found it pretty satisfying, which is rare in a novella; normally I just want more of it.